Inkster Leads Sorenstam at ShopRite

By Sports NetworkJune 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Juli Inkster carded a 6-under-par 65 on Friday in rainy conditions to take a two-shot lead after one round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Annika Sorenstam, the 1998 and 2002 champion, posted a 4-under-par 67 to take second place. Mi Hyun Kim is alone in third at minus-2, while Jeong Jang is the final player in red figures at 1-under-par 70 on the Bay Course at Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa.
There were no delays Friday despite the fact that rain fell steadily throughout the round.
Inkster, who won this title in 1986 and 1988, rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the third to get her round going. She then stuck a sand-wedge 10 feet from the cup at No. 8 to set up her second birdie.
The 44-year-old came right back with a 3-foot birdie putt on the ninth. Inkster made three straight as she drained a 25-foot birdie try on the 10th. Her run ended with a bogey on the par-3 11th after she missed the green left.
Inkster got that stroke back with a birdie on the 15th. She pitched in for eagle on the 16th to move to 6 under. The five-time Solheim Cup performer bogeyed the 17th, but came back by sinking a 4-foot birdie putt at the last for a two-shot lead.
'It was extremely difficult. The wind was blowing. The rain just did not let up all day long until maybe we got to the 18th green,' Inkster said. 'It was just a driving rain all day. I made a couple long putts and I chipped in twice, but I missed a couple short ones, too.'
Sorenstam got off to a tough start as she bogeyed the par-4 second. The Swede, though, pitched her third shot to the par-5 third to four feet and rolled in that putt for birdie.
The Kraft Nabisco champion tripped to another bogey at the sixth, but around the turn, Sorenstam drained a 35-foot birdie putt on the 10th to get back to even par.
Sorenstam, who is the two-time defending champion at next week's McDonald's LPGA Championship, dropped a sand-wedge within 10 feet of the cup to set up a birdie on the 13th.
The 60-time winner on the LPGA Tour ran in a 6-foot birdie putt on 15 to get to minus-2. Sorenstam's second to the par-5 16th came to rest 5 feet from the cup. She converted the eagle putt to take second place.
'I really didn't get off to a good start, but then again it wasn't the nicest day of golf today,' said Sorenstam. 'I thought it was quite difficult, especially the second hole which I bogeyed. It was tough on the front, it really was. Then, I made a long putt on 10 and that kind of kick started my back side and I played really good.'
Se Ri Pak, the 1999 champion here, posted an even-par round of 71. She was joined there by Nancy Harvey, Pat Hurst, last week's winner Jimin Kang, Heather Bowie, Silvia Cavalleri, Laura Davies, Natalie Gulbis, Beth Bader, Shi Hyun Ahn, Carin Koch, Marilyn Lovander, Catriona Matthew and Kris Tschetter.
Defending champion Cristie Kerr shot a 3-over-par 74 and is in a tie for 50th place.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - ShopRite LPGA Classic
  • Full Coverage - ShopRite LPGA Classic
  • Getty Images

    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

    Getty Images

    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

    Getty Images

    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x